Nearly 5,000 Irish emigrants have permanently settled in Canada since the beginning of the recession, according to recently published statistics from the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

Approximately 3,200 Irish nationals have become permanent residents of Canada over the past six years. More than 1,500 have become citizens.

Members of this “lost generation” are showing no signs they'll be returning as the number of Irish choosing permanent residency in Canada has more than doubled from 395 in 2009 to 1,015 in 2013, the Irish Independent reports.

Ten thousand Canadian working visas were made available to the Irish in the first three months of this year and the demand for visas has increased since, says Edwina Shanahan, marketing manager at Visa First.

"The interest from applicants applying for further stay visas has increased substantially; we have additional people working on that team now," she said.

"Canada has become a lot more amenable to our clients than Australia, and an awful lot of people are going towards the more permanent option if they are eligible.”

Significant changes to Canada's visa application system have made the country an attractive long-term option for emigrants.

Launched in January, the International Experience Canada (IEC) is a working-holiday visa allowing people aged 18-35 to work in the country for up to two years.

The visa also allows applicants to bring dependent children with them, giving it an advantage over an equivalent scheme in Australia.

"There are more families emigrating to Canada than to Australia. The age profile that went is of an age for buying properties, buying homes," said Shanahan.

"In Australia and New Zealand you are meant to be single, have no criminal record and no medical history that would concern immigration, but in Canada they very much look at the profile of the person and very much look at people who will come, migrate and stay there. Canada's intention is to hold on to people, particularly skilled people."

Further, in Canada Irish immigrants are more likely to work in their occupation rather than in part-time jobs.

"You'll find traders working in trades, engineers working as engineers; they're not making sandwiches or working in Irish bars as much as they may have in Australia," Shanahan said.

Marie-Claire McAleer, a senior research and policy officer at the National Youth Council of Ireland, has urged the Irish government to introduce new measures to support emigrants who wish to return home.